Featured News

Fairs are finding a way

By Matt Reese, Dusty Sonnenberg, Kolt Buchenroth, and Dale Minyo

After planning, re-planning, and changing re-planned plans in the face of incredible obstacles, Ohio’s fairs are still managing to find a way to move forward with junior fair activities.

Since March, Ohio’s fair board members have been on a roller coaster of ever-changing rules and evolving health and safety guidelines. In late May, Gov. Mike DeWine released guidelines for fairs with a heavy emphasis on social distancing, limiting crowds, ensuring the health of people involved, and measures for animal care. The governor encouraged Ohio’s fair boards to work with local health departments on putting on the events within the guidelines at that time.

On Tuesday, June 9, a letter was sent to Ohio Fair Board members from the State government acknowledging the challenges COVID-19 has presented in conducting junior fair activities in a safe manner, and doing it in a way that “works financially.”… Continue reading

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USDA announces first-ever recipients of urban agriculture grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the selection of recipients for approximately $4.1 million in grants and cooperative agreements through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. Famicos Foundation in Cleveland was among the first-ever recipients of these grants and cooperative agreements, which will enhance urban agriculture efforts in their community.

“Ohio is certainly doing its part to support a sustainable food system including work being done in urban agriculture and community gardens,” said Terry Cosby, State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Ohio. “I look forward to seeing the innovations in urban and other emerging agricultural practices that result from these efforts.”

The Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program supports a wide range of activities through two grant types, which are Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. Activities include operating community gardens and nonprofit farms, increasing food production and access in economically distressed communities, providing job training and education, and developing business plans and zoning.… Continue reading

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Livestock and COVID-19

With the rapid spread of the new coronavirus believed to have started in bats, some people might be genuinely concerned about their farm animals. Could the animals catch COVID-19? 

The answer is murky. 

While there have been no reported cases of pigs, horses, sheep, chickens, or cows getting COVID-19, their susceptibility to the respiratory disease has yet to be studied.  

And though some pigs have been able to get COVID-19 in lab studies, it does not appear that they can catch or spread the virus very easily, said Scott Kenney, an assistant professor of veterinary preventive medicine at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“There are a lot of unknowns,” Kenney said. 

What is known is that ferrets, minks, domestic cats, and some dogs have become infected with COVID-19. But neither pets nor farm animals are thought to play significant roles in transmitting COVID-19. 

Kenney, whose research focuses on viruses that spread from animals to people, is pursuing grants with colleagues to study whether various farm animals are susceptible to COVID-19.… Continue reading

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Ohio Association of Foodbanks receives pork donation from Hartford Fair youth

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks recently received a donation of processed pork from the Hartford Junior Fair youth livestock auction. The donation, more than 15,000 pounds of pork, will be split among several local charities, including the Food Pantry Network of Licking County, the Ronald McDonald House, Recreation Unlimited, and the Mid-Ohio Food Collective. The donation comes from the annual 4-H and FFA junior fair exhibitors’ livestock auction where Englefield Oil Company, Heartland Bank and Licking County Farm Bureau purchased livestock from the auction and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) processed the meat. This year’s donation from the Hartford Junior Fair youth livestock auction is the largest contribution to date.

“We sincerely appreciate the generosity of so many organizations that have stepped up to support our 4-H and FFA youth and to make this much-needed high-protein food donation possible,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.… Continue reading

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Beetle battle

By Leisa Boley Hellwarth, a dairy farmer and attorney near Celina

In June, the Court of Appeals for the Twelfth Appellate District of Ohio decided Ohio Department of Agriculture v. Thomas Brown, 2020-Ohio-3316. The case is about the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB) and the government’s eradication program. (At this point, I am anxious to think about something other than coronovirus, masks and death rates.)

The ALB is an invasive wood-boring insect that feeds on a variety of hardwoods, including maple, birch, elm, ash, poplar, horsechestnut and willow, among others, and kills them. It is native to China and Korea and is 1.5 inches in length, shiny black with white spots on their wing cases and black and white antennae that can be twice as long as their body.

Trees attacked by ALB have wilted foliage and canopy dieback, round exit holes, round egg-laying sites or excessive sawdust at the base of the trees.… Continue reading

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Livestock and CFAP

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program provides direct relief to producers who faced price declines and additional marketing costs due to COVID-19.

The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, or CFAP, provides vital financial assistance to producers of agricultural commodities who have suffered a five-percent-or-greater price decline or who had losses due to market supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19 and face additional significant market costs. USDA is accepting applications now through Sept. 11, 2020. Learn more at farmers.gov/cfap.

Eligible Livestock

CFAP assistance is available to livestock producers who have an ownership interest in eligible livestock that have suffered a five percent-or-greater price decline as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and face additional significant costs in marketing their inventories due to unexpected surplus and disrupted markets.

Livestock eligible for CFAP include cattle, hogs, and sheep. Specifically, eligible livestock are:

• Pigs < 120 lbs. Hogs 120 lbs.
Cattle (excluding beefalo, bison, and animals used for dairy production or intended for dairy production)
• Feeder Cattle < 600 lbs.… Continue reading

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Fishing participation on the rise

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show

It’s been more than a dozen years since America has seen this many people fishing – and that is based on data compiled before social distancing raised the number of anglers to record numbers. The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) announced the findings of the 2020 Special Report on Fishing, noting participation is on the rise. The Outdoor Foundation and RBFF-produced report, in its 10th year, provides insights into demographics, the “leaky bucket,” perceptions of fishing and more.

“Thanks to the strong improvements in recruitment and reactivation, fishing participation is up again this year,” said Frank Peterson, RBFF president and CEO. “Better yet, the key audience segments we feel are tantamount to the future of fishing continue to see gains in overall participation and participation rate.”

Participation is up to the highest rate since 2007, with 17% of the total of the U.S… Continue reading

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New soybean offering from BASF

Soybean growers have a new seed option available for the 2021 growing season.

BASF announces the U.S. launch of Xitavo Brand soybean seed with Enlist E3 technology. Xitavo Brand soybean seed is owned by MS Technologies and exclusively distributed by BASF.

With weed resistance increasing, growers need new tools to improve soybean efficiency and productivity. Xitavo soybean seed delivers an innovative solution to growers seeking a new soybean seed option.

“At MS Technologies, we’re committed to providing leading solutions and better choices for soybean growers,” said Joe Merschman, President of MS Technologies. “We know that higher yields are always top of mind for growers, and we’re excited to collaborate with BASF to bring this new technology to market to help growers get the most out of every acre.”

Xitavo soybean seed includes the Enlist E3 triple-stack herbicide tolerant trait. Enlist E3 soybeans provide tolerance to Liberty herbicide, new 2,4-D choline and glyphosate.… Continue reading

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Making the most of unprofitable prices

By Jon Scheve, Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC

The market continues to go nowhere. Iowa’s storm damage doesn’t seem large enough to impact overall prices, and while dry weather pockets may hurt bean yields some, it’s unlikely to affect much of the corn this late in the growing season.

As harvest approaches, farmers will be clearing old crop out of bins, which may keep downward pressure on prices for another month.

With prices at unprofitable levels, I made 2 recent trades that helped me pick up some added premium that I’ll add to previous trades. These kinds of trades can help me maximize my profit potential in a down market.

Straddle trade

On 4/22/20 when September corn was trading at $3.27, I sold a $3.20 straddle (selling both a $3.20 put and a $3.20 call) on 10% of my 2019 production collecting 43 cents. As I was selling the straddle, I bought a $2.90 September put for 7 cents. These… Continue reading

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The politics of cow farts and Burger King’s Whopper

By Don “Doc” Sanders

Many of you have probably read about Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s advocacy for plant-based diets to eliminate global warming caused by cow farts. Now Burger King has gotten into the act with a real whopper. And I’m not talking about the Whopper, Burger King’s double-decker hamburger with all the trimmings.

What I’m writing about is Burger King’s new marketing whopper, an ad that is trying to convince consumers that by buying a Whopper, they’ll play a role in reducing global warming. That’s because Burger King is beginning to sell burgers made with beef from cattle fed lemongrass. Burger King claims that lemongrass makes the cows fart less and thus release into the atmosphere less methane. (No promises for their customers, from what I’ve seen.)

Let me give you some background on lemongrass. ‎Cymbopogon is the genus of the lemongrass family, which includes 52 species. Commonly called barbed wire grass, lemongrass grows in countries ranging from Vietnam to Australia.… Continue reading

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Preharvest herbicide treatments

By Dr. Mark Loux, OSU Extension State Weed Specialist. Adapted from C.O.R.N. 2020-28

Information on preharvest herbicide treatments for soybeans can be found in the “Weed Control Guide for Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois”, at the end of these crop sections (pages 72 and 143 of the 2020 edition).

Mark Loux OSU Extension Weed Scientist
Dr. Mark Loux, OSU Extension Weed Scientist

Some dicamba products are approved for preharvest use in soybeans, and some 2,4-D products are approved for use in corn, and these are not listed in the guide. The basic information for these follows:
Dicamba – soybeans: Apply 8 – 32 oz/A (4 lb/gal products) as a broadcast or spot treatment after soybean pods have reached mature brown color and at least 75% leaf drop has occurred; soybeans may be harvested 14 days or more after a pre-harvest application; do not use preharvest-treated soybean for seed unless a germination test is performed on the seed with an acceptable result of 95% germination or better; do not feed soybean fodder or hay following a preharvest application of this product.

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Senators seek robust enforcement of USMCA dairy agreements

A bipartisan group of 25 Senators sent a letter identifying challenges with implementing several dairy-related provisions in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Underscoring USMCA’s importance to the dairy industry, the letter asks the U.S. government to use USMCA’s enforcement measures to ensure full compliance with the trade deal.

The letter, led by Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), was sent to the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It reads, in part:

“As negotiated, the USMCA will create new export opportunities for America’s dairy industry and creates an equitable playing field for American dairy exports in Mexico and Canada. Given the importance of these provisions to our dairy farmers and to American dairy exports, we ask that you use USMCA’s enforcement measures to hold our trading partners accountable to their trade commitments. It is imperative that Canada and Mexico deliver upon their agreed upon commitments related to dairy products.”… Continue reading

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Thinking about storing more grain this fall?

By Chris Bruynis, Associate Professor/Ohio State University Extension Educator

There are several market factors that may have farmers looking to increase their storage for this fall. With lower prices, some farmers will look to store grain and hope prices will improve. With the current basis and price improvement between the harvest period compared to the January/March delivery period of 22 to 40 cents for corn and 16 to 34 cents for soybeans, elevators are sending a message to store grain.

The concern I have is that we will use some facilities that are not typically used for grain storage making aeration challenging at best. With poor air movement, grain going into storage will need to be of better quality, lower foreign material, and probably lower moisture.

Dr. Kenneth Hellevang, Ph.D., PE, Extension Engineer and Professor from North Dakota State University is one of the leading experts on grain drying, handling and storage.Farmers… Continue reading

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Opportunities with the 2020 OCA Replacement Female Sale

By John F. Grimes, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale Manager

The Ohio Cattlemen’s Association (OCA) is providing an opportunity for both the buyers and sellers of beef breeding cattle this fall. On Friday evening, Nov. 27, the OCA will be hosting their eighth annual Replacement Female Sale. The sale will be held at the Muskingum Livestock facility in Zanesville and will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The 2020 Ohio Cattlemen’s Association Replacement Female Sale will provide an opportunity for both buyers and sellers to meet the need for quality replacements in the state. Consignments may include cow-calf pairs, bred cows and bred heifers. Females must be under the age of five as of Jan. 1, 2021 and may be of registered or commercial background. Bred females must be bred to a bull with known EPD’s and calves at side of cows must be sired by a bull with known EPD’s.… Continue reading

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Making corn silage in dry conditions

By Bill Weiss, Ohio State University Extension

The primary goal of making corn silage is to preserve as many nutrients in the corn plant as possible, to produce a feed that is acceptable to cows, and to minimize any risks associated with feeding the silage. The following are important considerations for making corn silage when growing conditions have been dry.

Chop at the correct dry matter concentration. Drought-stressed corn plants are often much wetter than they appear, even if the lower plant leaves are brown and dried up. Before starting chopping, sample some plants (cut at the same height as they will be with the harvester) and either analyze DM using a Koster tester or microwave or send to a commercial lab (turn-around time may be a few days if you send it to a lab). If the plants are too wet, delay chopping until the desired plant DM is reached.… Continue reading

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More than just your farm…

By Matt Reese

It was getting late when my phone rang. It had been a rough day.

I didn’t know the number, but I answered anyway.

“Hello,” I said politely, but a little bit upset.

And then what I heard next, I will not ever forget.

“I got your number from a friend. Nope, you’ve never met me.

But I need someone to talk with, if you’d be kind enough to let me.

You see I’m working by myself. I’m out in my shop alone.

And I’m thinkin’ things I shouldn’t think. So I picked up the phone.”

I sort of sputtered to myself. I stood and scratched my head.

“Um, sure, I guess. I’m listening,” was the only thing I said.

He said the toil of generations was everywhere he looked,

From great-grandpa’s toolbox on the shelf to the old stove where grandma cooked.

His family looked to him now, both generations gone and yet to come,

To keep building their tradition upon the land this farmer long called home.… Continue reading

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Home butchering basics being covered at virtual FSR

This year’s Farm Science Review is being held 100% virtually, with sign up and all of the events being free of charge, because of the coronavirus pandemic. In a normal year, more than 100,000 people attend the event in person. This year, visitors can find the same learning opportunities on line on a number of topics.

There’s growing interest in on-farm butchering, say experts at The Ohio University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), and they’re offering guidance for doing it right.

As major meat processors have suffered shutdowns and back-ups because of COVID-19, and as small processors have been swamped with business as an alternative for slaughtering market-ready livestock, more and more farmers have started to think about simply doing it themselves.

But processing livestock safely, humanely, and legally isn’t a simple thing at all, said Lyda Garcia, assistant professor of meat science in the CFAES Department of Animal Sciences.… Continue reading

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